Warhorses again

Since my last post about the project I've worked up the Warhorses of Letters idea into a fairly finished state, put it away for a bit, and tried to look at it with fresh eyes in the last couple of days.

And I'm still not quite sure of it. There's much that I really like specifically: the interaction of the lettering and illustration like Copenhagen's ear poking through the heart-shaped-'o', and crossbar of the 't's becoming the rein. I also think the overall composition is really solid and well set-up to convey the gag. I'm pretty pleased with Copenhagen even if most of him is covered up.

But there's something not quite there yet and I think the devil's in the details with this one. It mostly just needs another pass adding nuance to (some of) the figures, a bit of directional shading and so on. The background also needs something. I'm thinking of putting in a more explicit explosion where the yellow light currently is. It might distract the eye from the central detail of this picture, the quill and paper, but I hope it'll create an even more immediate funny juxtaposition to have an explosion right next to Cope's dreamy expression.

Kiss kiss hoofprint.